A once-abandoned building in downtown Dallas is being reincarnated as an eco-conscious, people-friendly mixed-use destination that offers coworking, loft living, green space, commercial office space and a coffee shop. The developers have also been awarded a $300,000 grant to install solar power. The 60,000-square-foot building, located at 1808 South Good Latimer Expressway, in East Cedars near the farmers’ market, was built in the 1930s and expanded in the 1950s. Occupancy is targeted for January 2018. “1808, from its conception, is an innovative, mixed-use redevelopment. Our goal is a coworking, business and residential community built around the synergies of design, business and sustainability," says Steve Kinder, the building’s owner and CEO of LOFTwall.
One of the nation's premier green architectural design firms, GGO Architects, led by Gary Olp, FAIA and LEED fellow, designed and directed the renovation of the project in partnership with GoodWork, led by Amy King, a company dedicated to incubating healthy environments for working and living.
Kinder says, “As we worked with our partners to pursue LEED certification, solar was on our wish list." The Dallas nonprofit group Downwinders at Risk (DownwindersAtRisk.org) chose the 1808 project to receive the final grant from their Sue Pope Fund for Pollution Reduction.
Dallas-based Sunfinity Solar (SunfinitySolar.com) was selected to design and manage the system installation. John Billingsley, CEO of Sunfinity Solar, notes that this installation will be one of a small handful of solar systems operating in the downtown area. The system from Sunfinity Solar includes 454 panels (150 kilowatts) that will provide almost half of the building's power needs and feed excess power produced back to the electric grid. Over 20 years, this solar system is estimated by the U.S. Department of Energy to offset significant amounts of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and mercury. The carbon sequestered alone is equivalent to taking 638 cars off the road for a year, planting 78,317 trees over 10 years or preserving 24 acres of forest from conversion to cropland in one year.
"Solar power makes sense for businesses of all sizes – from for-profit concerns to schools and non-profits - for the same reasons that it appeals to homeowners,” says Billingsley, who also notes that Texas is particularly suited for solar, with the second-greatest technical potential for photovoltaic rooftop installations, given its location in the Southwest and relatively low tree coverage.
"The potential financial savings are impressive, and they go on for years," Billingsley explains. “Businesses have the choice to be energy-independent by owning their own power and locking in a percentage of their building's needs for 30-plus years. The environmental benefits are just as compelling, since solar taps a clean, endlessly renewable energy source that doesn't require other resources, like water and fuels, to produce or transport."
Olp says, "It has been rewarding to take this building from a dilapidated, overlooked, abandoned building and transform it to one of the most healthy working and living environments in Dallas."
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